• Contador came into the finish looking battered and bruised, but ready to fight on (AAP)Source: AAP
Former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) hit the tarmac with 79 kilometres to go in the opening stage to Utah Beach, hitting the central median strip and ending up at the bottom of a pile of riders.
Cycling Central

3 Jul 2016 - 6:09 AM  UPDATED 3 Jul 2016 - 9:58 AM

As the riders hit a section of the course open to crosswinds, a number of teams went to the front to try and split up the field. With the pace being forced higher, the peloton rounded a 90 degree turn with some riders being forced too close to the median strip in the centre of the road and crashing.

The initial fall saw a chain reaction behind with a number of others continuing into the downed riders, also crashing in the process.

Contador sprung right back up, jumped on team-mate Robert Kiserlovski's bike and appeared to be untroubled as he rejoined the peloton, which had slowed following the crash. There was a lot of bruises and abrasions down the Spaniard's right side and he received some running repairs along the route, bandaging up his shoulder and arm.

He eventually rolled into through the finish in 86th position in the second group after a crash in the final kilometres split the field. It was adjudicated by the commissaries that the field would all finish on the same time as stage winner Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), invoking the three-kilometre rule.

Contador gave some insight into the crash and how it happened. “The race was very tense and everybody was fighting to position themselves in the front because of the wind. We were well positioned and very attentive but at a turn, a number of riders hit the central reservation. My front wheel got off and I also think that was the case with some others. We fell, hit the ground and skidded. In addition, another rider fell on me and hit my shoulder.”

"What can we do, that's cycling. You might prepare intensely for months and then you crash.”

With the stage over, Alberto was waiting to see how he felt when the adrenaline of the day’s racing had worn off, and wanted to concentrate on recovering. “Now, it's a question of applying ice, doing a treatment with the Inbida machine and making sure the inflammation doesn't get worse. I have scratches all over the right part of my body, from the ankle up to the shoulder."

The first test of Contador's recovery will come straight away, as the tricky finish to the stage finish in Cherbourg-Octeville is likely to see gaps form up the final climb of the day. The short climb shouldn't be one for the general classification contenders, with the puncheurs like Greg van Avermaet, Simon Gerrans and Michael Matthews favoured, but Contador will still have to be in good shape to avoid losing time.